Canada: More Funds for Mental Health Needed Following Overdose Deaths

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By Education Today

Posted on February 28, 2023


2 min read

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The remarks follow claims by local religious leaders and neighbourhood activists that drug overdose deaths among Punjabi international students in Surrey are on the rise. Giani Narinder Singh of the Surrey-based Gurdwara Dukh Nivaran revealed to Press Progress that the Gurdwara had spent hundreds of thousands of dollars assisting in the return of students’ bodies to their family in India.

Many students, according to Singh, are uninformed of the dangerous drug supply and the possibility that the medications they may be ingesting contain chemicals like fentanyl. According to the BC Coroners Service, the availability of toxic drugs claimed approximately 2,300 lives in 2022. Just 34 less than the 2,306 deaths reported to the BC Coroners Service in 2021, the number of deaths under investigation in 2022 is the second-highest total recorded in a calendar year. 

And in 2022, toxic medications contributed to 6.2 fatalities every day, or 189 deaths each month on average. When investigations come to a close and the precise causes of deaths are identified, the final number for 2022 will almost definitely rise. The news of overdose deaths in British Columbia gravely saddens and worries Universities Canada and its members. As assistant director of international relations for Universities Canada, Graham Barber told The PIE News, “We urge students to get in touch with their universities and take advantage of the facilities offered on campus.

“Universities are dedicated to collaborating with students, the administration, and the local community to make sure that our campuses are secure spaces and that students have access to quality support. “Urgent direct financing is required to make critical enhancements to student mental health services on campus. Universities across Canada have been pleading with the federal government to fulfil its election-year promise to set up a $500 million over four-year student mental health fund.